how it started
Hi friend, I’m so glad you’re here!
My name is Jennifer Olson and I am the Founder of Jars of Hope. In my junior year of high school, I became aware of the reality of human trafficking. Up until then, I was completely unaware of this massive injustice that is on every corner of the globe. I became aware of this issue through the testimony of a woman trafficked in the United States. My heart broke as I listened to her story. This woman had years of broken relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend. She searched for value in the fleeting pleasures of this world which only deepened her pain. One of the men she dated ended up becoming her trafficker. He preyed on her vulnerability and used her for his financial gain. What she thought was a way out of her difficult life only shattered her more. This story struck me to my core because I had experienced some of the same struggles.
While I hadn’t lived through the horrors of trafficking, I know that if the Lord had not saved me I would not be telling you this story. My life could have looked a lot like hers had I not experienced the redemption of Christ Jesus.
As a new believer in Christ, I couldn't help but ask, " Jesus, why wasn't that me? Why am I here? Why did you choose me?" What Christ did for me left me in utter thankfulness. He started a passion in my heart to take action for those enslaved and be voice for the voiceless. I want everyone to know of this freedom.
There is hope in this woman's story. I learned she also came to know Jesus and was experiencing healing, love, and purpose. Her story of brokenness made beautiful and left me forever changed. I immediately began to take action and host awareness events at my high school with a group of girls. We raised thousands of dollars through these events and other initiatives at our high school. I knew I wanted to do more to fight human trafficking in the future but wasn't sure what that would look like.
In college, I began selling painted mason jars that focused on various needs in the world. With each sale, I donated 100% of the proceeds to an organization. Inside each jar there was information about the organization and others ways to help.
A few months into I directed the focus of the mason jars solely on human trafficking. From this shift came the jar necklace; a small jar filled with regular glitter and tied with string (see gallery above for a photo). A few months later, I found the beautiful glass glitter we use to fill the jars today. I thought this glitter was an excellent fit because it speaks to the heart of what we do. We want to remind our community that restoring shattered souls is a messy and hard process. Yet, in the midst of this, the broken pieces are being swept up into a new story of beauty and restoration.
We know no soul is too broken for the healing power of the Gospel to take place in someone's life. There is no one too far gone for the grace of God. We rest in the belief that he is the ultimate transformer of hearts and restorer of brokenness. He guides those enslaved from the darkness into his light and it is such a privilege to be a small part in so many redemption stories.
The progression and growth of this business are only by the grace of God. Without him, Jars of Hope would not exist nor be where it is today. We know God guides this business by his gracious hand. I pray Jars of Hope continues to grow for his glory so more people would come to know of his great love for us.